Tonight I went to ACMI to see the premier of Une Vieille Maitresse (An Old Mistress), the new film by French director Catherine Breillat, whose work I deeply admire.

The film stars Asia Argento as a deeply disturbed woman in the early nineteenth century who enjoys the attention of aristocratic men but whose life becomes meaningless after the death of her daughter and her estrangement from her lover (her daughter’s father). There are also brief appearances from Breillat’s previous lead actresses Caroline Ducey and Amira Casar.

UneVieilleMaitresse Une Vieille Maitresse

It’s significantly less perverse than her previous films, particularly Anatomie de l’enfer, but it contains sufficient sex and blood to satisfy her fans. Like her earlier film Breve traversee it is a subtler work, and of course as a costume drama it has its own genre conventions to meet.

The only distraction is something I’ve noticed in a few serious films now – breast implants. It appears that Argento has implants and, like Emmanuelle Beart in Histoire de Marie et Julien, some of her scenes seem framed from a point of view that tries to make the fake breasts not look too obvious. The first film that I saw them in was Y tu mama tambien, where Maribel Verde’s implants made everything unsexy. They’re horrible. Let silicone bimbos stay in Hollywood trash-porn, but please keep them out of European art-porn.

Une Vieille Maitresse

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